Vulnerabilities > CVE-2021-3450 - Improper Certificate Validation vulnerability in multiple products

047910
CVSS 5.8 - MEDIUM
Attack vector
NETWORK
Attack complexity
MEDIUM
Privileges required
NONE
Confidentiality impact
PARTIAL
Integrity impact
PARTIAL
Availability impact
NONE

Summary

The X509_V_FLAG_X509_STRICT flag enables additional security checks of the certificates present in a certificate chain. It is not set by default. Starting from OpenSSL version 1.1.1h a check to disallow certificates in the chain that have explicitly encoded elliptic curve parameters was added as an additional strict check. An error in the implementation of this check meant that the result of a previous check to confirm that certificates in the chain are valid CA certificates was overwritten. This effectively bypasses the check that non-CA certificates must not be able to issue other certificates. If a "purpose" has been configured then there is a subsequent opportunity for checks that the certificate is a valid CA. All of the named "purpose" values implemented in libcrypto perform this check. Therefore, where a purpose is set the certificate chain will still be rejected even when the strict flag has been used. A purpose is set by default in libssl client and server certificate verification routines, but it can be overridden or removed by an application. In order to be affected, an application must explicitly set the X509_V_FLAG_X509_STRICT verification flag and either not set a purpose for the certificate verification or, in the case of TLS client or server applications, override the default purpose. OpenSSL versions 1.1.1h and newer are affected by this issue. Users of these versions should upgrade to OpenSSL 1.1.1k. OpenSSL 1.0.2 is not impacted by this issue. Fixed in OpenSSL 1.1.1k (Affected 1.1.1h-1.1.1j).

Vulnerable Configurations

Part Description Count
Application
Openssl
3
Application
Netapp
4
Application
Tenable
125
Application
Oracle
30
Application
Mcafee
6
OS
Freebsd
3
OS
Netapp
2
OS
Windriver
4
OS
Fedoraproject
1
Hardware
Netapp
2

Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE)

Common Attack Pattern Enumeration and Classification (CAPEC)

  • Creating a Rogue Certificate Authority Certificate
    An attacker exploits a weakness in the MD5 hash algorithm (weak collision resistance) to generate a certificate signing request (CSR) that contains collision blocks in the "to be signed" part. The attacker specially crafts two different, but valid X.509 certificates that when hashed with the MD5 algorithm would yield the same value. The attacker then sends the CSR for one of the certificates to the Certification Authority which uses the MD5 hashing algorithm. That request is completely valid and the Certificate Authority issues an X.509 certificate to the attacker which is signed with its private key. An attacker then takes that signed blob and inserts it into another X.509 certificate that the attacker generated. Due to the MD5 collision, both certificates, though different, hash to the same value and so the signed blob works just as well in the second certificate. The net effect is that the attackers' second X.509 certificate, which the Certification Authority has never seen, is now signed and validated by that Certification Authority. To make the attack more interesting, the second certificate could be not just a regular certificate, but rather itself a signing certificate. Thus the attacker is able to start their own Certification Authority that is anchored in its root of trust in the legitimate Certification Authority that has signed the attackers' first X.509 certificate. If the original Certificate Authority was accepted by default by browsers, so will now the Certificate Authority set up by the attacker and of course any certificates that it signs. So the attacker is now able to generate any SSL certificates to impersonate any web server, and the user's browser will not issue any warning to the victim. This can be used to compromise HTTPS communications and other types of systems where PKI and X.509 certificates may be used (e.g., VPN, IPSec) .